Medical Examiner Information for Funeral Directors

Cremation Permits

Cremation permits are reviewed Monday through Friday. Cremation permits received by 8 a.m. on a business day will be reviewed and returned by 10 a.m. that day, and cremation permits received by 2 p.m. will be reviewed and returned by 3:30 p.m. that day.

Cremation permits received outside of business hours will be reviewed and returned by 10 a.m. the next business day. Cremation permits will be reviewed in the time period outlined above and it is not necessary to check on the status within our outlined timeframe.

Please submit the cremation permit and death certificate* to us by fax at 855.300.7312 or by email at

Sometimes, death certificates signed by non-ME Physicians are too vague for the reviewing Medical Examiner to understand what happened, or include something that may have resulted from a non-natural cause (e.g. hip fracture, brain bleed, fall, overdose). In these cases, authorization for cremation may be delayed as our office works diligently to resolve any identified issue. We will notify you if there will be a delay. It is your responsibility and to your benefit to immediately notify the Office of the Medical Examiner if you note that a non-ME Physician has entered a non-natural cause on a death certificate so that we can expedite resolving the issue.

*If the Office of the Medical Examiner is signing the death certificate, you will not need to submit a copy of the death certificate with the cremation permit.

Cremation Permit Fees

Eaton $35
Ingham $28
Ionia $50
Isabella $0
Shiawassee $25

Body Release Hours

Bodies are admitted and released from the Sparrow Hospital morgue 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, including holidays. We recommend arriving during morgue working hours to pick up a body (Monday - Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 6 a.m. to noon, excluding holidays). Though you may retrieve a body at any time, body release is handled by Sparrow Security outside of business hours. This means that if there is an emergency within the hospital, the emergency will be triaged with higher importance and may cause delays.

Body Release Location

When you come to Sparrow, please pull up to the loading area on the east side of the hospital, accessed from Holmes Street. If you need more specific directions to the morgue within the hospital, please contact us.

Body Release Authorization

You must provide written documentation that you are authorized to receive the body. This does not require family signature. Click here for our standard release authorization form.

Please fax this document 517.372.5104 or bring it to the morgue in person at the time of release.